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Magnetic Resonance Imaging Examined in Multiple Sclerosis

Last Updated: January 28, 2010.

The use of functional MRI to assess patterns of brain activation in adults and children with multiple sclerosis may offer insight into disease progression among these groups, according to research published in the February issue of Radiology.

THURSDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- The use of functional MRI to assess patterns of brain activation in adults and children with multiple sclerosis (MS) may offer insight into disease progression among these groups, according to research published in the February issue of Radiology.

Maria A. Rocca, M.D., of the University Hospital San Raffaele in Milan, Italy, and colleagues analyzed data from five small groups: healthy pediatric and adult controls, pediatric and adult patients with relapsing-remitting MS, and adults with clinically isolated syndromes. Patients underwent MRI during a simple motor task. Also, a dynamic causal model approach was used to assess interactions between different regions during the task.

The researcher's findings suggest that the brain pattern of cortical activation is relatively preserved in pediatric relapsing-remitting patients, and additional areas of the network are progressively recruited in adult relapsing-remitting patients. The relatively preserved adaptive properties of the cerebral cortex in pediatric patients may inhibit clinical disability in the short to medium term.

"The preservation of brain adaptive properties might explain the favorable medium-term clinical outcome of pediatric MS patients," the authors write. "The progressive recruitment of cortical networks over time in patients with the adult relapsing-remitting forms of the disease might result in a loss of their plastic reservoir, thus possibly contributing to subsequent disease evolution."

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